Debunking Common Myths About Climate Change

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Aislinn Connon, Editor-in-Chief

It is almost impossible in today’s world to go a single day without hearing about the widespread effects climate change has or will have on the planet, and these concerns are valid. Climate change has shown itself in the shifting of plant and animal ranges, the melting of lakes and rivers, and the disappearance of glaciers. While climate change and global warming are a proven scientific fact, there is still an abundance of myths and misconceptions about this topic that will be addressed within this article.

The first misconception is the idea that since there have been winter storms and some of the coldest weather on record the past few months, climate change does not exist all of a sudden. President Trump in particular has been fueling this sentiment with tweets stating this exact opinion, which has led many Americans to feel the same way. However, it must be pointed out that climate and weather are not the same thing. Climate is the average weather over a long-term period, while weather is whatever is going on at the time. A few cold storms do not erase the fact that the Earth has been, on average, warming throughout the past decades. According to the Washington Post, although 10,000 cold weather records were broken throughout 2017, 36,000 hot weather records were also shattered.

Many people actually love the thought of the average temperature rising by a couple degrees. That would only bring less snow to shovel, more time to visit the beach, and less money spent on heating, right? Wrong. The presence of global warming is not going to simply make summers longer and winters shorter; it’s a great deal more complicated than that. The trapping of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cause (and has been causing) weather to become more erratic and unpredictable, while storms become stronger and longer. Take, for example, the number of extremely destructive hurricanes that have occurred since 2000: Irma, Maria, Harvey, Katrina, Sandy, etc. Research reported on by the Union of Concerned Scientists suggests that hurricanes have become much more intense since the 1970s. You can try to enjoy your warmer temperatures and longer summers as global warming worsens, but don’t complain when your house is torn down by the next fierce hurricane.

People might hear their grandparents droning on and on about how global warming is a hoax made up by scientists in order to make money, or that since scientists don’t completely agree on climate change, it doesn’t matter. These two statements could not be further from the truth. The idea that scientists are split on climate change and that both sides have valid claims is wildly blown out of proportion. Scientists are not evenly split on global warming, it’s more of a 97% to 3% divide. Nearly all scientists believe that climate change is very real and a problem that needs to be addressed. If 97% of scientists said that an earthquake was set to strike in the next hour, would you take the chance and stick around instead of evacuating? It’s unlikely. Not to mention the other 3% has no actual reports to back their claims, and their beliefs are mainly fueled by emotion. Since climate change has been acknowledged and confirmed by every country on Earth at some point, it’s almost impossible to believe that it was a hoax created by scientists or the Chinese.

There is an abundance of other climate change myths that people have conjured up over the years, but these are just the most infamous ones. Consider doing your own research to educate yourself further on the specifics of climate change. It is an extremely complex subject that will only become more important as time goes on.